Sunday, 31 March 2013

Happy Easter Hate Speech

Reverend Thomas Musoke (pictured) and Pastor Solomon Male, backed by US evangelical groups, held gay hate march next to the home of grieving elderly mother of slain gay rights activist

Following on from the breaking news that homophobic hate campaigners had descended on David Kato's grave, causing his mother deep distress, reports at present suggest everyone is safe, if fairly upset about the incident.

Ugandan religious figures, backed by US evangelical groups, held gay hate march next to the home of grieving elderly mother of slain gay rights activist...

 Pastor Solomon Male, Reverend Thomas Musoke led yesterday (31 March) a group of about 100 people demanding ‘say no to homosexuality’, and ‘promoters of homosexuality’ to be prosecuted.

According to Pepe Julian Onziema, director of the group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), who was present at the protest, Male claimed Uganda’s government is not doing enough to pass the Anti Homosexuality Bill, ‘join us against homosexuality. Government has failed’, he said.

Still, this should not be taken as a sign that everyone who turned up actually supported Musoke and his hoard. One person reported that:

Pastor demonstrates how homos have sex, man in crowd shouts "how do u know if u don't do it? Stop encouraging our curiosity, u fake person"

Wouldn't be aimed at Mr. 'eat da poo poo' Ssempa, would it?

Kato's Mother Harassed

Rev. Senyonjo saves Kato mourners from vicious
homophobic attack by leading funeral service.

Anyone who has seen the documentary Call me Kuchu will know how David Kato's mother suffered when her son's funeral was hijacked by Thomas Musoke, a vicious Christian pastor, preaching homophobic hate and telling everyone her son was going to hell.

Five days ago, there was an appeal in an LGBT forum (edited):

Guys in Uganda please call Kasha urgently! Here is message from her: Guyz urgently call me, I'm in a place with no credit. There's a planned demonstration at David's mom's place denouncing homosexuality. Old woman in a panicked state. tnx

Things went quiet for a few days. 

Just now, reports are coming in:

At David Kato's burial home, Rev. Thomas Musoke, Pastor Male, an Imam and other priests gathered for rally "Say No to Homosexuality". Crowd not so big but growing... Police did not intervene at all, there's one officer attending the meeting.

Key gay rights activists, including Pepe Julian Onziema, are there now. We will report as and when we know more. There is fear for their safety, and for the well being of David's mother.

Update: Ugandan anti-gay pastors hold hate rally next to gay hero David Kato’s grave

Friday, 29 March 2013

UK Halts Deportation

The UK Border at Heathrow

Hot on the heels of campaigns against the UK Border Agency after the death of Ugandan LGBT asylum seeker Jackie Nanyonjo:

The deportation flight of a female asylum seeker to Uganda has been cancelled with just hours to spare against Friday’s deadline...

Campaigners have frequently documented alleged cases of UKBA deporting LGBT asylum seekers back to countries where they face homophobic persecution.

The claims have always been denied by UKBA and the Home Office.

Well, here's some news:

Don't rejoice just yet, what they replace it with may be even worse.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Voices of the Abasiyazzi

There's a new Kickstarter campaign headed by SMUG's Programme Director, Pepe Julian Onziema. It's called Voices of the Abasiyazzi, and seeks to raise $74,925 (€57.5k/£49k) in the next 26 days to produce a documentary filming experiences of the Ugandan LGBT movement. More information in the video above. There's also a Facebook page.

[UPDATE: LGBT Filmmakers Seek to Reverse Ugandan Homophobia]

Friday, 22 March 2013

Ghent Awards Doctorate

Dr. Frank Mugisha

Ghent University, Belgium, has awarded an honorary doctorate to Ugandan gay rights campaigner Frank Mugisha:

For the first time, students at Ghent University were given the go-ahead to nominate an honorary doctorate, which rewards individuals of exceptional merit. The Ghent Student Council chose gay rights activist Frank Mugisha from Uganda, where homosexuality is illegal. The honorary doctorate will be awarded during the Dies Natalis celebration on 22 March. - Flanders Today

Congratulations Frank!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Museveni Speaks

Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, has sent mixed messages on LGBT rights.
President Yoweri Museveni

Now this is worthy of front page news:

He's been busy telling a group of representatives from the Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights that although gay people are sexual deviants, the police will probably try and investigate hate crimes against them. 

Well, better than a kick in the teeth, but not much more useful.

What's slightly more disturbing is that he went on to say:

...there is no discrimination, no killings, no marginalization [of gay people] in Uganda.

Questionable delusions of grandeur there, Mr. President. Just because you say something is so, does not make it so. In this instance, it just makes it look as though you're out of touch with the reality of your people.

“In our society, there were a few homosexuals. There was no persecution, no killings and no marginalization of these people but they were regarded as deviants. Sex among Africans including heterosexuals is confidential,” Mr Museveni said.

Fair enough. But that is no longer the case. Just because you believe the public debate to be 'misplaced' or 'distorted' doesn't meant that debate will not take place.

Time to decide what your legacy will be. Whether you will be remembered as a tyrant, or as a champion of human rights.

Your choice.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Kadaga up for Pink Brick

Rebecca Kadaga

Leading LGBT hater Rebecca Kadaga is up for San Francisco Pride's prestigious Pink Brick award.

San Francisco Pride has announced the nominees for the person who caused the most harm to LGBT people during the 2012 year.  Included in this year’s nominations for The Pink Brick is Ugandan speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who if you vote will earn the infamous badge of disrespect because she promised to deliver Uganda The Kill the Gays Bill (more formally titled The Anti-Homosexuality Bill) as a Xmas gift in December 2012...

The Pink Brick faux award harkens to “the first brick thrown at the Stonewall Riots, and is given to someone who has caused significant harm to the LGBT community,” SF Pride notes.

Let's just hope she doesn't turn up in person to collect it. The Pope met her, then promptly resigned. Coincidence? We think not.

[UPDATE: After an appeal by SMUG, the organisers of the Pink Brick award have agreed to withdraw Kadaga's nomination, so as not to enrage the... erm... trying to think of something to call her that won't enrage her...]

Uganda to officially pass ‘Kill The Gays’ bill (via Gay Star News)
“Uganda will officially pass the ‘Kill The Gays’ bill at the end of this year despite international criticism.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the anti-gay bill will become law by December since most Ugandans ‘are demanding it’.
Referring to the law as a ‘Christmas gift’ to the population,  she spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals.

The law will broaden the criminalization of same-sex relationships by dividing homosexuality into two categories; aggravated homosexuality and the offense of homosexuality.
‘Aggravated homosexuality’ is defined as gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, pedophiles and repeat offenders. If convicted, they will face the death penalty.
The ‘offense of homosexuality’ includes same-sex sexual acts or being in a gay relationship, and will be prosecuted by life imprisonment.
Uganda lawmaker Atim Ogwal Cecilia Barbara has even suggested there should be a continent-wide ban on homosexuality, saying all African gay people should be jailed for life.

Gay rights activist David Kato was murdered in Uganda in January 2011 shortly after a local newspaper published images of him and other gay people under a headline urging readers to ‘hang them.’
Despite this, Uganda’s LGBT community held a weekend of gay pride events this summer”

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Jackie Nanyonjo Protest Video

Following on from the death of Jackie Nanyonjo, here is a video from the protest outside the Home Office on 14th March 2013. It accuses the UK Border Agency of excessive use of force as a matter of routine, and calls for them to stand trial and be held accountable for deaths in custody.

Friday, 15 March 2013

UK Activists Call it Murder

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 9.23.49 AM

On Wednesday, we reported on the death of  Jackie Nanyonjo, an LGBT asylum seeker who was deported back to Uganda and was returned to her family vomiting blood. She died shortly afterwards.

Yesterday, a protest took place outside the Home Office in London:

U.K. activists are calling it murder... The question is who is responsible. Evidence is emerging that Jackie was not well while incarcerated by U.K. authorities for two months, during which time she fought against her deportation back to anti-lesbian and anti-gay Uganda, where she believed her life was in  danger...

Meanwhile, concern has been voiced on the SMUG forum that Jackie's family may now be vulnerable for agreeing to accept her back. This may hamper investigations if they are afraid to speak about her situation.

The whole incident is highly embarrassing to the UK, whose message appears to be extremely mixed on LGBT rights. One moment: House of Lords calls for decriminalization of homosexuality in Commonwealth because of higher HIV rates, the next they face criticism because the Queen's landmark Commonwealth Day speech fails to mention the words "gay" or "lesbian".

It's not just the UK in the firing line. Australia has recently hit the world spotlight for police brutality at a Mardi Gras parader, meanwhile: UN called upon to oppose rampant worldwide anti gay and trans bigotry:

A report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) currently debated by the UN Human Rights Council found that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity remains widespread and persistent throughout the world.

The council is due to pass a resolution on the matter next week, and human rights groups have urged it to take a strong stand against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

These are the countries and institutions we're relying on to speak out against the Bahati Bill?

We may be in trouble...

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

UK Allows Death of Ugandan Lesbian

Jackie Nanyonjo died in Uganda on Friday 8 March
Dead: Jackie Nanyonjo

After recent criticism of the UK's record on LGBT Asylum Seekers, the following comes as little surprise:

Campaigners are blaming the UK Border Agency for deporting an asylum seeker who has reportedly died in Uganda after she claimed she was at risk of homophobic persecution... Jackie Nanyonjo died in Uganda on Friday 8 March...

When family members finally met her, long after the flight had landed, Jackie was in terrible pain and vomiting blood; they rushed her to a clinic, but in a country with widespread poverty and limited medical facilities they were unable to get the medical attention Jackie needed.

The protest will be held outside the Home Office in Westminster, central London, from 12.30pm tomorrow, Thursday 14 March 2013.

If you can't make the protest, you can write to your local MP and members of the House of Lords via WriteToThem to express your disgust. You can also contact the Home Secretary, Theresa May

Bahati's Kill the Gays Bill has been sitting at #3 on the list of Business to Follow as of yesterday.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

World Bank Screens Call Me Kuchu


Excellent photograph from Call Me Kuchu's Facebook group, 7th March 2013.

A great post-screening discussion at the World Bank HQ today with one of Uganda's most fearless activists, Victor Thick Skin Mukasa, and the wonderfully radical Fabrice Houdart, president of Globe at the World Bank. An important step considering the lack of LGBT inclusion in most World Bank programs. 

Fantastic to see that the World Bank are really listening to what LGBT human rights campaigners have to say.

Find out how to hold your own screening of Call Me Kuchu.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Simon Lokodo Case, Part II

Minister of Ethics & Integrity, Simon Lokodo

What do you do when you're so afraid of a Minister that you can't tell him he's broken the law?

Erm... nothing, apparently.

Following on from Simon Lokodo Case, Part I, where SMUG's case against Uganda's Minister of Ethics and Integrity (and lesser mentioned Attorney General), was postponed - today the judge didn't even bother turning up:

The hearing of LGBT Ugandans vs Attorney Gen. & Minister of Ethics & Integrity has been postponed. Judge Mwangushya is not available today, so the hearing cannot take place as scheduled. Sorry folks for any inconvenience. Next date shall be communicated later. Thank you for your support.

What an embarrassment for the Ugandan legal system. The highest Judges in the country aren't even capable of administering their own diaries.

It's led to speculation that the courts are afraid to deliver a verdict that is unfavourable to Simon Lokodo.

Forget spelling 'ethics', let's try C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-.....

Sunday, 10 March 2013

News Update II

Well, yet another week has passed and still no news on the bill. As we mentioned, the Ugandan Parliament only sits three days a week, so it's likely to be a while yet.

Quick round-up of other stories of interest this week, just so you don't think we've gone to sleep...

On Friday there was a warning amongst the Ugandan LGBT community to stay safe and vigilant, after this incident occurred:

A mother of a 23 year old went to Richmond Medical Centre in Kabalagala taking her son for treatment. She said that he had been sodomised. With her, she had a Bukedde Newspaper with wedding pictures of the two Ugandans, and [a copy of] Red Pepper of 24th Feb which outed some [LGBT people] calling us recruiters.

She has been going around telling people at some clinics she has gone to that we are part of the people responsible for her son's situation...

Watch out and be on the alert. Avoid places where you see people have hate, anger, and talk so negatively about LGBTI persons... Meet in public places, avoid dark corners and going out of the house when you're not sure who has called you. Don't take any threat for a joke...

The threat to the safety of LGBT people in Uganda is still very real.

Canada is quietly financing a concerted grassroots effort to aid gay Ugandans’ fight against their country’s proposed anti-homosexuality bill — and preparing them in case it passes, says a senior Department of Foreign Affairs source... Canada has spent $200,000 to kick-start several gay rights initiatives in the region. 

Hmm... not so quietly that we haven't all now heard about it.

We hope to have something to report tomorrow when Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) challenge Simon Lokodo, State Minister for Ethics & Integrity, over unlawful violation of civil rights.

Watch this space!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

News Update

Still waiting on the bill discussion...

Meanwhile, quick info update on some stories we've previously covered.

Hot on the heels of David Cecil's deportation, yet another British actor finds himself in jail. This time it's Keith Prosser: British actor thrown into Ugandan jail after appearing in play about homophobia. That's the same play, The River and the Mountain, that David Cecil produced and directed.

Perhaps if we fill up the Ugandan jails with British actors it will stop them being filled with LGBT Ugandans, whilst simultaneously solving the UK's unemployment issue? A staged peaceful protest?

Keith Prosser

The Ugandan gay couple honoured in Sweden last month have won the right to remain together. There were fears that, despite being married, Lawrence Kaala might be deported. Thankfully this is not about to happen as he received his residency permit on 28th February. Congratulations!

Lawrence Kaala and Jimmy Sswerwadda, a Ugandan gay couple, have won the right to stay in Sweden.  

And, finally, the perennial and tiresome issue of Scott Lively: Boston Globe  highlights lies from the man charged with Crimes against Humanity. Apparently he's a liar, liar, pants on fire, and has been telling fibs to the court
In court it’s a chorus of the ‘has never even met’ refrain but in the press ‘his reach during his trip was extraordinary. The evening of his arrival, he says, he met with more than 50 members of Parliament. He also claims to have spoken privately for 30 minutes with the country’s minister of ethics and integrity.’

Which is it Scott?  This isn’t rhetorical.  Is this leading to a trial filled with perjury?... Why is it that he’s free to boast about his truths to the newspaper, while feigning innocence in court?
Well, quite. If we were at all surprised by it, we'd bump it up the news update.